There is no denying it. New Year’s Resolutions are cliché, but for some inexplicable reason they resonate with me. The cycle of the year holds power in my life. In particular, the past three years my resolutions have been very important to me. I have changed my life by becoming more active. I have applied myself intellectually and professionally in new, brave ways. I’ve always focused on pushing myself toward some new and great achievement. This year I’m competing in my first women’s sprint triathlon and will train for my fourth half marathon.
I’m proud of those things and they’re great goals (I’m a bit goal orientated if that wasn’t coming through) but in 2018 I want to focus on presence.
I spend a lot of time taking pictures of my kids. They’re adorable and hilarious and I’m ridiculously proud by every little thing they do. Then, after I get the perfect photo, I spend more time posting those pictures to Facebook and/or Instagram with my witty asides or commentary.
Any parents familiar with the following?
Parent: “Oh that’s so funny! Let me grab my phone!”
Parent: “Why are you smiling weird? Smile normal.”
Parent: “Got it! Oh look at that so cute!”
Kids: “Mom, let’s play! “
Parent: “Hold on I’m picking a filter.”
Kid: “Mom, can I play on your phone too?”
Parent: “No, hold on I’m almost done.”
Kid continues cute activity but disengages from parent.
I really hate this. I’m really, really not proud of this. But that? I do that more often than I’d like to admit.
Sometimes I’ll wait until later in the evening to post the pictures, but I’ll say it: I take a lot of photos with social media in mind. Not for the memory books and picture frames, but so I can find a good picture for posting. Ew.
My 2018 resolution is to stop posting pictures of my kids on social media.
I will not stop taking pictures all together. I want photos for our family to print, share, send to each other, and enjoy, but no more posting. I’ll still mention family moments and activities because my family is my world, but no photos of the kids. No more drafting the post – sometimes even spending time thinking about possible posts ahead of time – and putting off engaging in the moment.
I don’t want their family memories to be of mommy staring at her phone… and I am worried I have veered off in that direction.
It is my hope that removing the “showing them off” element of capturing moments in my children’s lives will make me more present the moment.
My resolution is NOT a commentary on other people’s posting habits or choices. You can post many adorable photos of your kids and still be a present, wonderful parent (to be clear, I also do not think I’m a bad parent). This is just something I want to try for myself. This is about me focusing on the present rather than the post.
My reason is not about privacy so much as presence. I’m not combing through and removing old pictures and my parents, my husband, and other friends and family will, I assume, still share some pictures. I’m all-good with that.
Truth be told when I think about not sharing their adorable Halloween costumes or their first day of school pictures it sends sad little pangs across my heart – but here is the deal – they won’t know the difference. For them Halloween will be exactly the same whether my friends from high school know what they wore or not. We do Halloween events for them, not for me and certainly not for LSE Class of 2003, so I need to suck it up.
So, sprint triathlon and half marathon aside, my 2018 goals? Look up and pay attention.